Tag Archives: Advanced Cancer Research

New Research: Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain
Computer Modeling and New Drugs to Deactivate Metastasized Breast Cancer in the Brain

Bringing a new immuno oncology drug to market is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. A team of researchers is trying to expedite the process, using computer modeling to find a drug that treats metastasized breast cancer.

Can One Drug Fight Two Types of Cancer?

Triple negative breast cancer is the most difficult form to treat. Once the cancer metastasizes to the brain, survival time is generally shorter. Scientists at Houston Methodist analyzed thousands of current drugs in search of one that could prevent metastasis.

The team’s efforts paid off when they hit on edelfosine, a drug which is FDA-approved for investigational leukemia treatment. Edelfosine has also been the subject of clinical research for primary brain tumors.

In a study to test the discovery, mice were injected with triple negative breast cancer stem cells obtained from patients. The cancer cells metastasized to the brain, but treatment with edelfosine prevented the cells from further growth.

A “Game-Changer” in Immuno Oncology

Dr. Stephen T. Wong, one of the study’s authors, referred to the concept of repurposing drug compounds to prevent metastatic brain cancer as a “game-changer.” In past research, Wong and his co-workers have discovered other drugs that are being repurposed in clinical trials.

The study’s co-author, Dr. Hong Zhao, said they hope to move edelfosine to a phase II clinical study within the next few years. In addition, scientists want to investigate use of the compound on other forms of cancer.

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“Superblood” Engineered to Carry Cancer Fighting Proteins

"Superblood" Engineered to Carry Cancer Fighting Proteins
“Superblood” Engineered to Carry Cancer Fighting Proteins

Super powers are usually the stuff of comic books and movies, but a biotech startup may be turning fiction into reality with the development of “superblood” as a revolutionary new cancer treatment.

“Supercharging” Red Blood Cells

Rubius Therapeutics is working on a program called Red-Cell Therapeutics (RCT), which involves red blood cells that are genetically engineered to fight cancer. Once introduced into a patient’s system, these proteins can replace missing enzymes and help the immune system attack and destroy cancer cells.

RCT has two major advantages that make it a promising breakthrough in cancer treatment:

– The nuclei have been removed from these cells so they can’t be recognized by the immune system, leaving them free from interference so they can do their job.

– Red blood cells travel throughout the entire body, so RCT is able to easily reach any affected organs or tissues.

Thanks to these two features, RCT has the potential to treat patients without the need for an individually developed solution.

What’s Next?

Initially, Rubius Therapeutics generated $120 million from investors. The company recently raised an additional $100 million for a total of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in less than one year. According to Rubius president Torben Straight Nissen, this funding will help accelerate RCT development for quicker delivery to the end users.

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New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer

New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer
New Swedish Study Shows Selenium-containing Enzyme May Combat Cancer

One of the challenges of cancer treatment research is distinguishing between effects on healthy cells and tumor cells. Scientists in Sweden have been focusing on inhibiting a chemical that is beneficial to human health but also promotes the growth of cancer.

The Connection Between Selenium Intake and Cancer

Selenium is a chemical element with a Recommended Dietary Allowance determined by the Food and Drug Administration. An enzyme known as TrxR1 contains selenium, which supports cell growth and protects them from oxidative stress. Raised levels of TrxR1 are also associated with occurrences of cancer, although the causes are not yet understood.

While TrxR1 inhibitors are available, a research team at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden analyzed nearly 400,000 molecules looking for new and more specific versions. Their search turned up three molecules, which the scientists used to treat more than 60 types of cancer cells under laboratory conditions.

Treating Cancer While Sparing Healthy Cells

Healthy cells proved to be far less vulnerable to the TrxR1 inhibitors. Team leader Professor Elias Arner explained that the difference may be caused by cancer cells having a greater vulnerability to oxidative stress than normal cells.

Cisplatin, melfalan and some of the other cancer drugs currently in use contain TrxR1 inhibitors, although not the ones that were the focus of this study. It’s unclear whether the TrxR1 inhibition factor plays a role in the effectiveness of the drugs, but researchers will continue investigating these new molecules as cancer treatments.

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Huntington’s Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells

Huntington's Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells
Huntington’s Disease Produced Molecules Are Fatal to Cancer Cells

Could a clue to more effective cancer treatment be found in the biochemistry of another illness? Scientists are hopeful that the gene behind Huntington’s disease could be fatal to cancer cells without harming healthy ones.

What Is Huntington’s Disease?

Huntington’s disease is a genetically inherited condition that destroys nerve cells in the brain. There is currently treatment but no cure for the disorder, which causes a slowly progressive decline in both cognitive and physical abilities.

The faulty gene that triggers Huntington’s disease contains an excessive number of repeats of a certain sequence of nucleotides, which form the building blocks of DNA and RNA. These sequences create small interfering RNAs, which are molecules that attack specific genes crucial for cell survival.

“Assassin Molecules”

Brain cells in particular are vulnerable to the cell death caused by small interfering RNAs. Cancer cells are also highly susceptible, which is thought to be the reason why Huntington’s disease patients have such a low incidence of cancer.

A research team at Northwestern University tested these so-called “assassin molecules” on human and mouse cancer cells, including brain, breast, colon and ovarian, that were grown in a laboratory. The small interfering RNAs killed all cancer cells from both humans and mice.

Researchers were encouraged that the treatment also showed no toxicity to healthy cells. Further testing is underway to find a more targeted form of delivery.

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New Research: Light Activated Cancer Medications with Minimal Side Effects

Exploration of New Cancer Therapy Techniques Is on the Horizon.
Exploration of New Cancer Therapy Techniques Is on the Horizon.

A new light may literally be shining on the search for more effective cancer treatment. Scientists are making progress on the creation of cancer drugs that are light-activated and have fewer debilitating side effects.

Fighting the Toxic Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Most of today’s cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy receive cisplatin or another platinum-based compound. These treatments date back more than 50 years, and they attack both healthy and diseased cells, which results in toxic side effects.

A team from the Warwick Monash Alliance, which is an intercontinental collaboration between two universities in the UK and Australia, tested a potential platinum-based chemotherapy drug that is activated by direct light. The inorganic-metal compound has the ability to specifically target and attack cancer cells.

The treatment is completely inert in darkness. Once it’s inserted into a cancerous area, direct light triggers a reaction that causes the compound to degrade into active platinum and release ligand molecules on the diseased cells.

Harnessing the Power of Photoactivation

Peter Sadler, professor of chemistry at the University of Warwick, stated that this discovery has great potential for the development of targeted cancer treatment. Since the light can be focused directly on the tumor, the drug spares healthy tissue and kills only cancer cells.

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The Keto Diet May Prove Beneficial to Cancer Patients While in Treatment

What You Put in Your Body Could Be Affecting Your Likelihood of Catching Cancer.
What You Put in Your Body Could Be Affecting Your Likelihood of Catching Cancer.

People are always looking for the next great diet in an effort to lose weight. The recently popular ketogenic diet could have some surprising benefits for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

The Warburg Effect

Cancer cells proliferate via the Warburg effect, named for the scientist who first advanced the idea. Fermentation is a process by which sugars are metabolized to provide energy for bacteria. Sauerkraut and yogurt are some of the more widely-known products of fermentation.

Unlike normal body cells, which derive their energy from mitochondria, cancer cells receive energy from fermentation of glucose within cytoplasm. When a cell starts getting energy from glucose, it can be the first sign of abnormal cell function that ultimately results in formation of a tumor.

The Ketogenic Diet: Starving Cancer Cells

A keto diet plan is low in carbohydrates and high in fat. The science behind it is based on a biological response that dates back to prehistoric times. When food was scarce, the body responded by shifting metabolic gears and using stored fat as fuel.

When the body’s supply of carbs is restricted, it shuts off the flow of glucose and other cancer-promoting fuels. As cancer cells become compromised, the body resumes its normal cellular signaling, putting the brakes on further tumor development.

The keto diet should not be considered a cure for cancer. However, it’s a valuable tool for use in conjunction with immunotherapy and other cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy and Nutrition: A Winning Combination

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